Dr Anna Fox is a doctor currently without a practice but there are always people, others like herself, whom she can still help even whilst confined to her New York home. Without her much loved husband and daughter, there are too many hours in the day that Anna finds she needs to fill with small human interactions, elsewise the pills and wine will step up and do that for her. There is the gorgeous downstairs lodger, the online forums where she counsels other agoraphobics, her physiotherapist, her ex business partner, the myriad of delivery people who bring her food and other supplies. It has been a very long time since Anna has been able to put foot outside her own door. But this does not mean that she does not observe life outside.
The mix of small common encounters that make up family life are all close by and on constant display for Anna to watch unseen from her own upper windows. These domestic vignettes, observed via her camera lens or at most times just by Anna’s naked eye are always absorbing, so it is especially interesting when a new family move in over the road. Meeting a new neighbour is a treat and the lovely Jane Russell kindly stays with Anna for the afternoon on a day that she especially needs the company. The days do tend to blur though when you spend your hours taking your medication incorrectly with alcohol. When Anna sees her neighbour stabbed and pleading for help from behind the glass of the townhouse opposite, it is not an easy task for Anna to get anyone to listen. Anna is a witness to a killing, but no one is taking her story seriously.
Reserve yourself a little time and settle in as this engaging novel will be a one or two sitting read. Anna, despite all she has experienced, is immensely relatable and a warm narrator to listen to. There is no shame, there is only the present and the need for Anna to get herself through one day and then through the next. It is very easy to see only a few pages in why THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW was a monster hit straight out of the gates. Immersive, introspective and warm, this read totally wraps you up in the four walls of Anna’s townhouse as her growing concerns about the neighbours become yours.
Brace yourself for the huge jump scare at chapter’s end in the final quarter of the novel - I promise you will be leaping out of your seat! (Tip: Do not read this book on public transport).
Author A.J. Finn (was quite surprised to find this was a male author) does an excellent job in building up both tension and our worries for Anna’s welfare, an obviously intelligent character who is coping the best way she can with loss and mental illness.